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Cultural Potpourri: The heroes among our Philippine Pharmacists

The Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) is the national organization of licensed Filipino pharmacists with 83 regional and local chapters, 10 affiliate organizations and about 15,000 members.

The PPhA National Convention 2019 logo

About 4,500 of these licensed pharmacists are presently gathered in our beloved Davao City for the Philippine Pharmacists Association 2019 National Convention. The five-day convention from April 30 to May 4 is held at both the Davao Convention & Trade Center and SMX Convention Center of SM Lanang Premier.

(l-r): Venus A. Roque, Ma. Gila Sebua-Saljay, Yolanda R. Robles, Adelina C. Royo, Bryan C. Posadas

During the Press Conference held at Coco’s Grill Function Room last April 30, PPhA officers namely Yolanda R. Robles (PPhA National President), Ma. Gilda Sebua-Saljay (Overall Chair of the PPhA National Convention), Venus A. Roque (PPhA Davao chapter President), Adelina C. Royo (member of the Professional Regulatory Board of Pharmacy) and Bryan S. Posadas (PPhA PRO) gave a short talk on PPhA.

PPhA National President Yolanda R. Robles talks on the important role of pharmacists in health care

Unleash the Hero in You: Pharmacists Rising Beyond Expectations, is a call for action to all pharmacists to discover and recognize their capabilities in transforming the current practice into one that truly redounds to measurable health benefits for the majority of Filipinos.  This pivotal theme is intended to bring to the pharmacists’ consciousness the vital role the profession plays in attaining the goals of universal health care which should prepare all of us to boldly meet the myriad of challenges ahead.  It also sets the time to reflect on the milestones that our organization has achieved in its almost 100 years of existence,” said Yolanda R. Robles, the PPhA National President.

Davao’s media representatives with PPhA officers

“One of the values that drive excellence is the real desire to always do better individually and collectively.  In essence, that is what makes someone a hero.  The person who strives for more, and sets himself/herself apart through personal perseverance, ingenuity, and a commitment to set goals, is a role model and mentor for others.  In pharmacy, anyone can be a hero—it is what sets us apart from other professionals,” claimed the PPhA National Convention Overall Chairperson Ma. Gilda Sebua-Saljay.

“Our goal is to continue pushing the boundaries with regards the innate perception people have as to what pharmacists are deemed to do.  We are not only professionals through medicine but are servicemen with good hearts.  We continue to change, uplift, help and be of service to those who are less fortunate in life and the uninformed as to what pharmacists truly are, what we can actually do, and how much impact we can make,” professed PPhA Davao Chapter President Venus A. Roque.

Trade Exhibition at DavCon

During the meeting with Davao’s media representatives, the PPhA officers touched on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s projects, which PPhA is involved in, in his goal to provide quality, affordable and easily accessible health care services to Filipinos.  The Botica ng Bayan, which was launched in Davao on July 17, 2018, offers free essential medicines for common diseases prevalent in communities.  Another admirable project is the Malasakit Center (formerly known as Pagkalinga sa Bayan) which was launched in September 24, 2018.  It is a “one-stop-shop for government medical assistance designed to help the indigent Filipinos.”  The Center is determined to provide convenience and expedite medical services for those who are in need.  The Center is located across the Southern Philippines Medical Center and is beside the Lingap Center of the City Government.  The other Malasakit Centers are found in Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa, Dumaguete, Maasin and Manila.

Davao’s media representatives asked various questions on ethical practices of pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies; multinational branded medicines vs. Generic medicines; medical practitioners’ questionable favored choice of medicines in prescribing to patients; Senior Citizens’ selling of discounted medicines to others for a profit; among many others.

Marilyn Roque checks on the beauty products to enhance her beauty

After lunch, the invited media representatives proceeded to DavCon for the trade exhibit which highlights leading programs by pharmacists that contribute to upholding the standards of anti-microbial stewardship, rational use of medicines, medication adherence, and health promotion initiatives by pharmacists which address the risk factors of diseases.

In her message, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio reminded the pharmacists “to remain dynamic and responsive to the contemporary needs of society.  I firmly believe that you (pharmacists) are already heroes in your own ways.”

Thank you, Christopher P. Ledesma, for the PPhA invitation.


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